JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Has the world started cooling? Hints from 4 of 5 global temperature sets…

I’m not keen on short term trends at all, they have a habit of flicking in and out of statistical significance with each month’s new data, or even switching from cooling to warming. But for what it’s worth, and only time will tell, perhaps the world entered the downswing of the PDO cycle in temperatures circa 2005.

If the world was entering a gently cooling phase, this is what it would look like

Syun Akasofu pointed out that there was a simple 60 year oscillation of global temperatures (about 30 years of warming, about 30 years of mild cooling) on top of a long slow rise that started more than 200 years ago. He predicted that we were at the top of one of the cycles, and were about to see the beginning of a cooler cycle. This early data suggests he may be right.

See the little red dot with the green arrow at about the 2010 mark. Dr Syun Akasofu

The cooling for the last eight years is statistically significant in 4 of the 5 major air temperature datasets. One, UAH, shows a small (statistically insignificant) rise since 2005.

And here’s the political point: how many of [...]

Eight reasons the Australian heatwave is not “climate change”

Eight  reasons why this current heatwave is a boring, overhyped example of weather being used for political purposes.

1. It’s the long term trends that matter — not a few weeks of hot weather

As climate scientists keep telling us (except when they have a heatwave to milk), ”weather is not climate”. It’s the long term trends that matter. One short four week period is not a long term climate trend, but it is an excellent opportunity to create hype and scaremongering in the newspapers. Scientists with little scruple and low standards are making the most of this.

2. The “records” we are breaking are pitifully short

Even if this is the hottest heatwave “ever recorded”, it doesn’t mean much in the long term scheme of things. Natural climate cycles work on scales of 11 years, 60 years, 200 years, 1500 years, and 100,000 years. We have decent temperature records for many locations for only 50 years. We have a scratchy patchy thermometer record for 150 years. Any scientist raving about breaking a 50 year record as if it means something is … embarrassing. There is too much noise in this system and too little data.

3. If a few weeks [...]

Blockbuster: Anthony Watts skewers Muller, BEST, and the surface record all in one paper

It’s all up on Watts Up now.

What Anthony Watts and Evan Jones have revealed is breathtaking.

[Art thanks to: Cartoons by Josh]

This new pre-print paper by Anthony Watts accomplishes so much. Assuming that no major problems are found, the pieces of the jigsaw fit and pass the common sense test. Yes, hot air rises off concrete. There goes half the warming trend. The most accurate thermometers in the right places are not recording high trends. High estimates come from combining good records with poor ones then adjusting that up. They show Muller and BEST’s latest exaggerated claims of 1.5C are meaningless. They show that only class 1 and 2 stations (which are placed well, not next to concrete, car-parks, or air-conditioners) give reliable data and the warming trend from these stations is much lower than the warming trend from Class 3, 4 or 5 stations. It’s what we always knew — thermometers near artificial heat sources are measuring artificial warming, but it’s not the global kind. Mueller, BEST, GISS, Hadley and all the others should have removed the data from poor stations entirely. No amount of statistical chicanery can correct the artificial warming effect no [...]

The BOM & CSIRO report: It’s what they don’t say that matters

Ken Stewart has scanned the trend maps at BOM (Bureau of Meteorology), and his point is spot on. As soon as I saw the neat joint six page advertising pamphlet for the climate-theory-backed-by-bankers, I wondered what happened to the first 60 years of last century, and Ken found it. Did the BOM forget they have hundreds of data points from back then? Did they forget to use their own Website, where you can pick-a-trend, any-trend, and choose the one with err…more convenient results? Or is it the case that their collective mission is not necessarily to provide Australians with the most complete and appropriate information available, but with what the bureaucracy needs them to know? And what they need them to know, apparently, is the carefully censored version of the truth that will keep government ministers happy (Let us tax them more!), keep department heads smiling (Let the climate cash cow continue!), and last, but not least, help staff feel good (We’re sure we’re helping the environment!).

Why censor half their own data?

The trend map page works exquisitely well (I am happy to praise the BOM Web site team). Compare these two trend maps:

Australian Rainfall Trends 1960-2009

The [...]

Shock: Phil Jones says the obvious. BBC asks real questions.

Here’s the short version of that BBC interview. (Wow? Was it really the BBC?) This major re-framing of the story and admission of facts are part of the ClimateGate Virus epidemic. Journalists are starting to ask better questions, and researchers are starting to give better answers. OK, it’s not exactly a grilling, but neither is Roger Harrabin allowing the UN to promote its scare campaign without a few seriously-pointed questions. This represents almost as big a turnaround for Harrabin as for Jones (which I’ll expand on below). Only two years ago, he claimed skeptics were funded to spread uncertainty, and likened them to tobacco industry lobbyists. How must he feel to suddenly discover they actually had a case worth considering?

Cutting to the chase: paraphrasing Phil Jones

Stripped of the extras, Jones’ answers boil down to the following (I’ve added a few things he didn’t say [in square brackets], and skipped some questions ):

A) This recent warming trend was no different from others we have measured. The world warmed at the same rate in 1860-1880, 1919-1940, and 1975-1998. [Kinda cyclical really, every 55-60 years or so, we start another round.]

Hadley Global Temperature Graph with Phil Jones trends annotated on top.

[...]